Johann Christian was the youngest son of Johann Sebastian who found a home in London after travels across Germany and Italy. His cosmopolitan education and outlook can be enjoyed in these symphonies or sinfonias from the 1760s and later. Haydn may have been writing full four-movement works by then, but J.C.’s use of the old, operatically inspired three-movement model is always imaginative, enlived by attractive scoring for solo winds and strings. Some of the slow movements are certainly instrumental arias in their own right.
In all these symphonies, an energetic Allegro with a bold, attention-grabbing opening gesture leads to a slow movement (invariably marked Andante) and a fast final movement, often in a brisk triple time or with dancing or hunting associations. It might have been these examples that led to the eight-year-old Mozart composing his first symphonies while in London. Mozart often spoke well of Bach in his letters to his family. ‘I suppose you have heard that the English Bach is dead?’ he wrote to his father in April 1782. ‘What a loss to the musical world!’
“David Zinman’s well-recorded, modern-instrument performances with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra are polished and elegant, and they have vigour as well as finesse.” Gramophone Magazine
Symphonies Op. 6
Symphonies Op. 9
Symphonies Op. 18
La calamità Overture